BATLAS 2020: Citizen Scientists Record Kilkenny’s Bats
BATLAS 2020 is an Ireland wide survey of bats undertaken over 3 years (2016-2018). The survey was managed by Bat Conservation Ireland, funded by the National Parks and Wildlife Service, and supported locally by Local Authority Heritage Officers.
A quarter of Ireland’s mammals are bats. They are a protected species, and also an environmental indicator species which means that their presence indicates a healthy environment and their absence means that the integrity of the environment/landscape is damaged in some way.
According to Dr. Tina Aughney, Bat Conservation Ireland, “Bats rely on clean water, a strong insect population and good linear habitats along hedgerows, rivers and canals so that they can commute through the landscape along darkened corridors”. County Kilkenny with its many rivers and tributaries, hedges and trees is considered to have good habitats for bats.
In 2017, with support and funding from Kilkenny County Council Heritage Office, volunteers in Co. Kilkenny were trained by Bat Conservation Ireland and together they submitted 415 bat records from 85 locations around the county. A total of 7 different bat species were recorded in the county.
These are (in order of most commonly recorded to least); Soprano pipistrelle; Daubenton’s bat; Common pipistrelle; Leisler’s bat; Brown long-eared bat; Natterer’s bat; Nathusius’ pipistrelle. Only 2 of Ireland’s 9 bat species are not found in Kilkenny; the rarely recorded Whiskered bat and also the Lesser Horseshoe bat which is only found in counties along the western seaboard.
BATLAS 2020 provides a snapshot of the distribution of Ireland’s bats, and baseline information on bat populations which can help to inform management of bat habitats and future planning.
To read the Kilkenny BATLAS 2020 report click here
To find out more about BATLAS 2020 https://www.batconservationireland.org/what-we-do/monitoring-distribution-projects/batla